Intertidal Temperature from Coastal Nova Scotia


Intertidal habitats are unique because they spend alternating periods of submergence (at high tide) and emergence (at low tide) every day. Thus, intertidal temperature is mainly driven by sea surface temperature (SST) during high tides and by air temperature during low tides. Because of that, the switch from high to low tides and viceversa can determine rapid changes in intertidal thermal conditions. On cold-temperate shores, which are characterized by cold winters and warm summers, intertidal thermal conditions can also change considerably with seasons. Despite this uniqueness, knowledge on intertidal temperature dynamics is more limited than for open seas. This is especially true for wave-exposed intertidal habitats, which, in addition to the unique properties described above, are also characterized by wave splash being able to moderate intertidal thermal extremes during low tides. To address this knowledge gap, we measured temperature every half hour during a period of 5.5 years (2014-2019) at nine wave-exposed rocky intertidal locations along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. This data set is freely available from the figshare online repository (Scrosati and Ellrich, 2020a; We summarize the main properties of this data set by focusing on location-wise values of daily maximum and minimum temperature and daily SST, which we make freely available as a separate data set in figshare (Scrosati et al., 2020; Overall, this cold-temperate coast exhibited a wide annual SST range, from a lowest overall value of -1.8 °C in winter to a highest overall value of 22.8 °C in summer. In addition, the latitudinal SST trend along this coast experienced a reversal from winter (when SST increased southwards) to summer (when SST decreased southwards), seemingly driven by alongshore differences in summer coastal upwelling. Daily temperature maxima and minima were more extreme, as expected from their occurrence during low tides, ranging from a lowest overall value of -16.3 °C in winter to a highest overall value of 41.2 °C in summer. Daily maximum temperature in summer varied little along the coast, while daily minimum temperature in winter increased southwards. This data set is the first of its kind for the Atlantic Canadian coast and exemplifies in detail how intertidal temperature varies in wave-exposed environments on a cold-temperate coast.

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Licence: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

Data and Resources



Dataset extent

Metadata Reference Date(s) February 10, 2022 (Publication)
February 10, 2022 (Revision)
Data Reference Date(s) April 14, 2014 (Creation)
June 10, 2020 (Publication)
Frequency of Update As Needed

Responsible Party 1
Ricardo A. Scrosati
Marine Ecology Lab at St. Francis Xavier University
  • Author
  • Custodian
  • Distributor
  • Originator
  • Owner
  • Principal Investigator

Field Value
Ocean Variables
  • Sea Surface Temperature
  • Other
Scope Dataset
Status Completed
Maintenance Note Generated from
Spatial Extent [[[-65.81, 43.54], [-65.62, 43.24], [-60.87, 45.22], [-61.1, 45.45], [-65.81, 43.54]]]
North Bounding Latitude 43.24
South Bounding Latitude 45.45
East Bounding Longitude -60.87
West Bounding Longitude -65.81
Temporal Extent
Vertical Extent
Default Locale English
Citation identifier
Included in Data Catalogue
Included in Data Catalogue 1